IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/qsh/wpaper/365551.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Theory of Indiscriminate Violence

Author

Listed:
  • Yuri M. Zhukov

Abstract

Why do governments use indiscriminate violence against civilians? To deter a population from rebelling, a government should make rebellion costlier than neutrality. Yet indiscriminate violence can make neutrality costlier than rebellion. If indiscriminate violence causes previously passive actors to rebel, why do governments use it? With the help of mathematical modeling, archival data and micro-comparative evidence from dozens of armed conflicts, I show that combatants use indiscriminate violence because it works ? just not in moderation. Indiscriminate violence makes civilians less likely to remain neutral, but not necessarily more likely to support the opponent. There is a threshold level of violence, beyond which it becomes safer for civilians to cooperate with the more indiscriminate side. As long as civilians believe that supporting the rebels will be costlier than supporting the government, they will generally not rebel ? even if the government is responsible for more civilian deaths overall. The amount of violence needed to meet this threshold depends on the government? relative informational endowment. If a combatant has the information to selectively punish her opponents, she can employ a relatively low level of violence. Where she lacks the information for selective punishment, she will use methods more indiscriminate in targeting and more massive in scale. Violence is a substitute for intelligence.

Suggested Citation

  • Yuri M. Zhukov, 2014. "Theory of Indiscriminate Violence," Working Paper 365551, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  • Handle: RePEc:qsh:wpaper:365551
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://scholar.harvard.edu/zhukov/node/365551
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Laia Balcells, 2011. "Continuation of Politics by Two Means: Direct and Indirect Violence in Civil War," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(3), pages 397-422, June.
    3. Powell, Robert, 1996. "Bargaining in the Shadow of Power," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 255-289, August.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:01:p:123-133_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Gordon Tullock, 1971. "The paradox of revolution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 89-99, September.
    6. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:101:y:2007:i:04:p:709-725_07 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Salehyan, Idean & Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede, 2006. "Refugees and the Spread of Civil War," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(02), pages 335-366, April.
    9. Henrik Urdal, 2005. "People vs. Malthus: Population Pressure, Environmental Degradation, and Armed Conflict Revisited," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 42(4), pages 417-434, July.
    10. Jean-Paul Azam & Anke Hoeffler, 2002. "Violence Against Civilians in Civil Wars: Looting or Terror?," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 39(4), pages 461-485, July.
    11. Lyall, Jason & Wilson, Isaiah, 2009. "Rage Against the Machines: Explaining Outcomes in Counterinsurgency Wars," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(01), pages 67-106, January.
    12. Roger Klein & Francis Vella, 2009. "A semiparametric model for binary response and continuous outcomes under index heteroscedasticity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(5), pages 735-762.
    13. R. J. Rummel, 1995. "Democracy, Power, Genocide, and Mass Murder," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 39(1), pages 3-26, March.
    14. repec:cup:apsrev:v:104:y:2010:i:03:p:415-429_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Erik Melander & Magnus Öberg, 2006. "Time to Go? Duration Dependence in Forced Migration," International Interactions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(2), pages 129-152, July.
    16. Grossman, Herschel I, 1999. "Kleptocracy and Revolutions," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 267-283, April.
    17. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of AIDS," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 549-573.
    18. repec:cup:apsrev:v:71:y:1977:i:01:p:226-244_25 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Marvin B. Schaffer, 1968. "Lanchester Models of Guerrilla Engagements," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 16(3), pages 457-488, June.
    20. Laia Balcells & Abbey Steele, 2012. "Warfare, Political Identities, and Displacement in Spain and Colombia," HiCN Working Papers 124, Households in Conflict Network.
    21. Alex Braithwaite, 2010. "Resisting infection: How state capacity conditions conflict contagion," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(3), pages 311-319, May.
    22. Ian McCarthy & Daniel Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2014. "The bmte command: Methods for the estimation of treatment effects when exclusion restrictions are unavailable," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 14(3), pages 670-683, September.
    23. Gregory, Paul R. & Schröder, Philipp J.H. & Sonin, Konstantin, 2011. "Rational dictators and the killing of innocents: Data from Stalin's archives," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 34-42, March.
    24. Gartzke, Erik, 1999. "War Is in the Error Term," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(03), pages 567-587, June.
    25. Mathias Czaika & Krisztina Kis-Katos, 2009. "Civil Conflict and Displacement: Village-Level Determinants of Forced Migration in Aceh," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 46(3), pages 399-418, May.
    26. Powell, Robert, 2006. "War as a Commitment Problem," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 169-203, January.
    27. Abbey Steele, 2009. "Seeking Safety: Avoiding Displacement and Choosing Destinations in Civil Wars," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 46(3), pages 419-429, May.
    28. Monica Duffy Toft & Yuri M Zhukov, 2012. "Denial and punishment in the North Caucasus," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 49(6), pages 785-800, November.
    29. Shellman, Stephen M., 2008. "Coding Disaggregated Intrastate Conflict: Machine Processing the Behavior of Substate Actors Over Time and Space," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(04), pages 464-477, September.
    30. Yuri M. Zhukov, 2015. "Population Resettlement in War," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 59(7), pages 1155-1185, October.
    31. Sekhon, Jasjeet S., 2011. "Multivariate and Propensity Score Matching Software with Automated Balance Optimization: The Matching package for R," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 42(i07).
    32. Håvard Hegre & Gudrun Østby & Clionadh Raleigh, 2009. "Poverty and Civil War Events," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 53(4), pages 598-623, August.
    33. James Heckman & Salvador Navarro-Lozano, 2004. "Using Matching, Instrumental Variables, and Control Functions to Estimate Economic Choice Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 30-57, February.
    34. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-921, September.
    35. Daniel Jacobson & Edward H. Kaplan, 2007. "Suicide Bombings and Targeted Killings in (Counter-) Terror Games," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 51(5), pages 772-792, October.
    36. Feinerer, Ingo & Hornik, Kurt & Meyer, David, 2008. "Text Mining Infrastructure in R," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 25(i05).
    37. Walter, Barbara F., 1997. "The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(03), pages 335-364, June.
    38. Oecd, 2014. "Access Network Speed Tests," OECD Digital Economy Papers 237, OECD Publishing.
    39. Clionadh Raleigh & Andrew Linke & HÃ¥vard Hegre & Joakim Karlsen, 2010. "Introducing ACLED: An Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(5), pages 651-660, September.
    40. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    41. Kydd, Andrew & Walter, Barbara F., 2002. "Sabotaging the Peace: The Politics of Extremist Violence," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(02), pages 263-296, March.
    42. Laia Balcells, 2008. "Rivalry and Revenge: Making Sense of Violence against Civilians in Conventional Civil Wars," HiCN Working Papers 51, Households in Conflict Network.
    43. Weyland, Kurt, 2009. "The Diffusion of Revolution: ‘1848’ in Europe and Latin America," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(03), pages 391-423, July.
    44. Yuri M. Zhukov, 2013. "An Epidemic Model of Violence and Public Support in Civil War," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 30(1), pages 24-52, February.
    45. J. Michael Quinn & T. David Mason & Mehmet Gurses, 2007. "Sustaining the Peace: Determinants of Civil War Recurrence," International Interactions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 167-193, April.
    46. Amanda Murdie & Tavishi Bhasin, 2011. "Aiding and Abetting: Human Rights INGOs and Domestic Protest," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(2), pages 163-191, April.
    47. Abbey Steele, 2007. "Massive Civilian Displacement in Civil War: Assessing Variation in Colombia," HiCN Working Papers 29, Households in Conflict Network.
    48. Alastair Smith & Allan C. Stam, 2004. "Bargaining and the Nature of War," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 48(6), pages 783-813, December.
    49. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of the AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 5428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    50. King, Gary & Lowe, Will, 2003. "An Automated Information Extraction Tool for International Conflict Data with Performance as Good as Human Coders: A Rare Events Evaluation Design," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(03), pages 617-642, June.
    51. Vahe Lskavyan, 2007. "A Rational Choice Explanation For Stalin'S "Great Terror"," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(2), pages 259-287, July.
    52. Iacus, Stefano M. & King, Gary & Porro, Giuseppe, 2012. "Causal Inference without Balance Checking: Coarsened Exact Matching," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(01), pages 1-24, December.
    53. Mason, T David, 1996. "Insurgency, Counterinsurgency, and the Rational Peasant," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 86(1-2), pages 63-83, January.
    54. Ho, Daniel E. & Imai, Kosuke & King, Gary & Stuart, Elizabeth A., 2007. "Matching as Nonparametric Preprocessing for Reducing Model Dependence in Parametric Causal Inference," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 199-236, June.
    55. repec:cup:apsrev:v:104:y:2010:i:01:p:1-20_99 is not listed on IDEAS
    56. repec:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:04:p:715-735_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    57. Jason Lyall, 2009. "Does Indiscriminate Violence Incite Insurgent Attacks?," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 53(3), pages 331-362, June.
    58. Stephen C. Lubkemann, 2005. "Migratory Coping in Wartime Mozambique: An Anthropology of Violence and Displacement in ‘Fragmented Wars’," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 42(4), pages 493-508, July.
    59. Schultz, T Paul, 1971. "Rural-Urban Migration in Colombia," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(2), pages 157-163, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:qsh:wpaper:365551. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Richard Brandon). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cbrssus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.